A SPECIAL CORPS : THE BEGINNINGS OF GORKHA SERVICE WITH THE BRITISH.

Coleman, A. P.


£25.00




Pentland Press, Durham, 1st ed., 1999. Xxxiii + 317 pp., 3 cold., plates + 19 photo & other ills., + 9 maps + 24 tables. D.j., 24 x 16cm. Small owner’s label to f.f.e.p., o/w FINE. This superb work traces the early recruitment of Gorkhas into the East India Company’s Bengal Army and is based on sound research and largely previously unpublished documentary evidence. The work centres on the friendship of two Highland Scots, David Ochterlony and William Fraser, who were involved in the Anglo-Nepal war of 1814 – 1816. Ochterlony, commanding an army division in the Cis-Sutlej Hills, employed the skills of Gorkhas and other hillmen captured from the Nepalese Army. Impressed by their military discipline and efficiency, he enlisted some 4700, of whom perhaps 1500 were Gorkhas, into the Bengal Army. Increasing unrest among Indian troops in the regular Bengal Army led Hodgson, the Resident in Kathmandu, and successive Commanders-in-Chief, to press for the recruitment of Gorkhas as a stabilising force. Despite being thwarted by factors before 1850, subsequently their reputation grew and their importance to the changing role of the Army in North India was considerable. This is their story.


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